Shasha Ali

Cover Image - Pauline Wu 2017

My bones
Crack at
#breaking news
Of floods in Auckland
Streaming through feeds of
Hot Instagram stories
like Top 10 things you should do
In Singapura.

At the bite
Of S$6.90 Marmite spread toast
Its crumbs
Residue on my cotton tee
Like my first snow on August 1st 2002
In Christchurch.

My fingers
Tremble at the touch
Of ATM machines
Four official languages
First screen in Mandarin
Yet I never choose
As if alien to my tongue
I tap on
Feeling safe
And secure when my bank balance reads
In English.

My tongue
With his
After 15 years of
Missing out on local cuisine
Mainly Malay, Male and UnMarried
I wonder if this is what home tastes like
But all
I get
Is an aftertaste (Is he with me to get a visa?)
Of nasi goreng (Should I just try to have his baby...)
And weed (Then flee?)

Neither here

I guess
That’s how it feels these days
To be broke / broken
In New Zealand / Singapore
First World Free / Not Really
At 33.

Shasha Ali, Singapore 1983-2002. New Zealand 2002-2017. Singapore 2017-?

Shasha Ali is an indigenous Malay activist whose chronic diasporic disorder, searching and dreaming for Asia Pacific social consciousness in decolonisation led to her returning to her motherland Singapura in January 2017 after 15 years living mainly in Auckland New Zealand. Shasha is currently re-immersing herself in subcultural hideaways, harnessing her self-taught poetry now in Bahasa Melayu, and working with Malay teenage runaways in Singapura.